Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 16th 2014 Contents B45
November 16, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Nothing, it seems, could save
Louis Zamperini. As a boy, there
was no sign of the brilliant runner
he would become as a teenager; no
sign that he would run in the
Olympics and no sign that he would
survive the brutality of a Japanese
prisoner-of-war camp in World
In Zamperini s case, a key---one
that we associate with locks---ended
up being the key to turning his life
around. With her usual flair
for overlooked details, Laura Hil-
lenbrand, author of Unbroken, tells
readers about an important discovery
Zamperini makes after overhearing
someone talk about keys.
I won t give away the fascinating
details of that conversation and how
it eventually saved his life, but I will
say that Zamperini s brother Pete
re-channelled Zamperini s energy
by turning him into a bona-fide track
star. Up until that point, Zamperini
used running to get away from his
pranks. It s safe to say that he was
running from everything and every-
one---including himself. The drastic
turnaround in his life makes for
inspiring reading---especially because
he had his fair share of stumbling
blocks even when he decided to run
in the right direction.
There are many reasons to cheer
on Zamperini and Unbroken, and
his running is one of them. Running
so fast that he can t even feel his
feet touching the ground, Zamperi-
ni---with all of his chequered past---
represents an innocent time in sports
when true grit defined winners in
races. It is not a time tainted and
even defined by illegal drug use.
There are many endearing side
stories in Zamperini s story, the first
being the bond between brothers.
His change of direction offers
invaluable lessons for those who
believe there is no turning back in
life. Most importantly, Unbroken
shows how the events in our early
lives shape the people that we
"From earliest childhood," Hil-
lenbrand writes in Unbroken, "Louis
had regarded every limitation placed
on him as a challenge to his wits,
his resourcefulness, and his deter-
mination to rebel. The result had
been a mutinous youth. As mad-
dening as his exploits had been for
his parents and his town, Louis suc-
cess in carrying them off had given
him the conviction that he could
think his way around any bound-
Unbroken opens on Christmas
Day in cinemas in the US. Look for
it soon after in cinemas in T&T.
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The work of poet Vahni Capildeo
will be celebrated and considered
at an evening hosted by the Friends
of Mr Biswas on November 19, at
6 pm. Titled So I Thought I Would
Write Without Mercy, the event is
the latest in a series of talks and
seminars on T&T writers organised
by the group, which began in 2013.
Born in Trinidad and based in the
United Kingdom, Capildeo is the
author of four books of poems: No
Traveller Returns (2003), Undraining
Sea (2009), Dark and Unaccustomed
Words (2012), and Utter (2013). She
is also a frequent essayist and
reviewer, and writes a column for
PN Review, one of Britain s leading
The programme for So I Thought
I Would Write Without Mercy
includes a talk on Capildeo s writing
by Sunday Arts Section writer Shiv-
anee Ramlochan, who is also a poet.
Friends and colleagues of Capildeo
will read selections from her writing
and the event will be introduced
and moderated by Nicholas Laugh-
lin, programme director of the NGC
Bocas Lit Fest.
The Friends of Mr Biswas is an
NGO incorporated in 2000, to
administer the Naipaul House
Museum, in the childhood home of
writer VS Naipaul on Nepaul Street
in St James. Previous events in the
Friends seminar series have exam-
ined the work of writers Seepersad
and Shiva Naipaul, Neil Bissoondath,
and journalist Patrick Chookolin-
go.So I Thought I Would Write
Without Mercy is free and open to
the public. It will take place in the
auditorium at the National Library
in downtown Port-of-Spain, starting
Biswas Friends to feature
poet Vahni Capildeo
Brigadier General Isaiah Davies, left, pins a pair of silver bombardier wings
on Lt Louis Zamperini in 1942.
Louis Zamperini qualified for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, and ran
in the 5,000-meter race. Though he finished eighth, his final lap of 56
seconds was so fast, Adolph Hitler requested to personally meet Louie.
After meeting and shaking hands with Hitler, Louie would later climb a flag
pole in order to steal Adolph's personal flag.
That was just the tip of the iceberg of Zamperini's indomitable courage.
T&T poet Vahni Capildeo.
C CA B /
What shapes us most
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